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Toxicity of Crude Oil and Dispersants Factsheet

 
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Toxicity of Crude Oil and Dispersants Factsheet
[link to www.sciencecorps.org]

Crude Oil Health Hazards Fact Sheet

Dr. Michael Harbut, Karmanos Cancer Institute

Dr. Kathleen Burns, Sciencecorps

Many people will be exposed to crude oil as a result of the BP Gulf of Mexico spill. It is important to understand the potential toxic effects and take appropriate steps to prevent or reduce exposure and harm. This fact sheet provides a health hazard summary, and links to more detailed information.

Crude oil contains hundreds of chemicals, comprised primarily of hydrogen and carbon (e.g., simple straight chain paraffins, aromatic ring structures, naphthenes), with some sulfur, nitrogen, metal, and oxygen compounds (see Table D-1 in CDC, 1999 linked below). Crude oil composition varies slightly by its source, but its toxic properties are fairly consistent. Chemicals such as benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are very toxic components of crude oil and of high concern.

Exposure

Exposure can occur through skin contact, inhalation of contaminated air or soil, and ingestion of contaminated water or food. These can occur simultaneously. Exposure pathways may result in localized toxicity (e.g., irritation of the skin following contact), but most health effects are systemic because ingredients can move throughout the body. Exposure varies based on the duration and concentrations in contaminated media. Differences may result from location, work and personal activities, age, diet, use of protective equipment, and other factors. Concurrent exposure to other toxic chemicals must be considered when evaluating toxic effects. Some chemicals in crude oil are volatile, moving into air easily, and these can often be detectable by smell.

Basic Physiological Effects


Crude oil is a complex mixture of chemicals that have varying abilities to be absorbed into the body through the skin, lungs, and during digestion of food and water. Most components of crude oil enter the bloodstream rapidly when they are inhaled or swallowed. Crude oil contains chemicals that readily penetrate cell walls, damage cell structures, including DNA, and alter the function of the cells and the organs where they are located. Crude oil is toxic, and ingredients can damage every system in the body:

respiratory

Nervous system, including the brain

liver
reproductive/urogenital system

kidneys
endocrine system

circulatory system

gastrointestinal system

immune system

sensory systems

musculoskeletal system


Damaging or altering these systems causes a wide range of diseases and conditions. In addition, interference with normal growth and development through endocrine disruption and direct damage to fetal tissue is caused by many crude oil ingredients (CDC, 1999). DNA damage can cause cancer and multi-generational birth defects.

Acute Exposure Hazards - brief exposure at relatively high levels[1]

Crude oil contains many chemicals that can irritate the skin and mucous membranes on contact. Irritant effects can range from slight reddening to burning, swelling (edema), pain,and permanent skin damage. Commonly reported effects of acute exposure to crude oil through inhalation or ingestion include difficulty breathing, headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and other central nervous system effects. These are more likely to be noticed than potentially more serious effects that don't have obvious signs and symptoms: lung, liver and kidney damage, infertility, immune system suppression, disruption of hormone levels, blood disorders, mutations, and cancer.



Chronic Exposure Hazards - long-term exposure at relatively low levels


This type of exposure should be avoided, if at all possible, because the potential for serious health damage is substantial. Chronic health effects are typically evaluated for specific crude oil components (see CDC, 1999), and vary from cancer to permanent neurological damage. They cover a range of diseases affecting all the organ systems listed above.



Susceptible Subgroups



Children are vulnerable to toxic chemicals in crude oil that disrupt normal growth and development. Their brains are highly susceptible to many neurotoxic ingredients. Endocrine disruptors in crude oil can cause abnormal growth, infertility, and other health conditions. Children's exposures may be higher than adults and can include contaminated soil or sand. Newborns are especially vulnerable due to incompletely formed immune and detoxification systems.



Many people with medical conditions are more susceptible to crude oil toxicity because chemical ingredients can damage organ systems that are already impaired. Specific susceptibilities depend on the medical condition (e.g., inhalation poses risks for those with asthma and other respiratory conditions).


People taking medications that reduce their detoxification ability, and those taking acetaminophen, aspirin, haloperidol, who have nutritional deficiencies or who concurrently drink alcohol may be more susceptible. Some inherited enzyme deficiencies also increase susceptibility (listed in CDC, 1999).


People exposed to other toxic chemicals at work or home may be at higher risk.



Pregnancy places increased stress on many organ systems, including the liver, kidneys, and cardiovascular system. Chemicals in crude oil that are toxic to these same systems can pose serious health risks. Pregnancy also requires a careful balance of hormones to maintain a health pregnancy and healthy baby. Endocrine disruptors in crude oil can jeopardize the hormone balance.


The developing fetus is susceptible to the toxic effects of many chemicals in crude oil. Many cause mutations, endocrine disruption, skeletal deformities, and other types of birth defects.


Personal and Public Protection

It is critical that people who work with or around crude oil wear appropriate personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks, respirators, and water repellant clothing, to minimize exposure. The necessary equipment will depend on the kind of exposure that can occur (dermal, inhalation, ingestion). See OSHA guidance at OSHA 2010 link below. Susceptible members of the public require notice when exposure may occur (e.g., when contaminated air masses move inland) so they can take protective actions.





Sources



CDC, 1999: [link to www.atsdr.cdc.gov]



OSHA, 2010: [link to www.osha.gov]



NLM: [link to sis.nlm.nih.gov] - very limited information on human health



The National Toxicology Program (NIEHS-NIH) provides information on carcinogenic crude oil ingredients (e.g., benzene) & limited information on reproductive hazards [link to ntp.niehs.nih.gov]



California's EPA provides a list of chemicals know to cause cancer and/or reproductive harm: [link to www.oehha.org]


==========================================================

[link to www.uspoly.com]

Polychem Dispersit

COMPARATIVE MARINE TOXICITY
Toxicity is determined by the effect of the dispersant mixed with No. 2 fuel, oil 10:1 on Menidia Beryllina and Mysidopsis Bahia after 96 and 48 hours respectively. The oil itself is toxic at about 11 PPM. Corexit 9500 with oil is toxic at 2.61 PPM upon Menidia and 3.4 PPM upon Mysidopsis. Dispersit with oil is toxic at 7.9 PPM upon Menidia and 8.2 PPM upon Mysidopsis. Thus, the toxicity of the waterbased alternative is one half to one third the toxicity than that of the petroleum based product. Toxicity testing was performed on Dispersit by Coastal Bioanalysts Gloucester, VA.

COMPARATIVE HUMAN HEALTH EFFECTS
A review of the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) of Dispersit and any oil based dispersant illustrates the dramatic difference between the water and oil based effects on human health. Dispersit is essentially water and surfactant (soap). The application of Dispersit via spray should be conducted using goggles, gloves and respirator to avoid discomfort. The potential health effect is “slight to none” with protective equipment. As stated in MSDS, Corexit 9500 can cause central nervous system depression, nausea, and unconsciousness. It can cause liver, kidney damage, and red blood cell hemolysis with repeated or prolonged exposure through inhalation or ingestion according to the MSDS. The threat to human health via exposure is characterized a “MODERATE”. In sum, waterbased Dispersit is a material improvement in human health effects when responding to an oil spill.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 942322
Anonymous Coward
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hiding

Real, long-term, generational doom.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: Toxicity of Crude Oil and Dispersants Factsheet
Why the hell isnt the MSM warning beach goers of this???

Children are vulnerable to toxic chemicals in crude oil that disrupt normal growth and development. Their brains are highly susceptible to many neurotoxic ingredients. Endocrine disruptors in crude oil can cause abnormal growth, infertility, and other health conditions. Children's exposures may be higher than adults and can include contaminated soil or sand. Newborns are especially vulnerable due to incompletely formed immune and detoxification systems.


The developing fetus is susceptible to the toxic effects of many chemicals in crude oil. Many cause mutations, endocrine disruption, skeletal deformities, and other types of birth defects.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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05/11/2010 09:10 AM
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Could this possibly get a pin??

People need to stay aware of the potential health effects as this worsens..

Millions, 10s of millions of people will be in the Gulf Of Mexico in the next month alone..
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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bump peace
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Marine Toxicologist Riki Ott



Path_No_Logical_Ire

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The instrumental version hf


The dreamer and the dream
One awakens inside the other
Rediscovering universal truths
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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05/11/2010 09:49 AM
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I absolutely love that instrumental...

Saw it about a year ago...Those chics are badass..!!!
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Be safe people!!!!

bump
theoildrum.com
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05/11/2010 06:55 PM
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For more info, check out this informative blog
www.theoildrum.com

This is my way of bumping this excellent thread back to Page 1!
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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05/13/2010 03:16 AM
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For more info, check out this informative blog
www.theoildrum.com

This is my way of bumping this excellent thread back to Page 1!
 Quoting: theoildrum.com 519437

Thanks!!

And good site!
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Anonymous Coward (OP)
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SeraphimZeta

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What is all this about? BP told me this would be awesome.

I mean, they said that the oil gets broken down so the plankton et al can munch it up. By this logic, we should see a massive explosion in the base level of the food chain with a resultant increase in the general wildlife population. We should have been dumping this concoction into the ocean for years now.

The seafood even converts it into omega-3 and doesn't need additional oil to fry. The shit's that good.



Seriously, though, this is the type of thing that can cause cross-generational damage. For example, female babies are born with all of their egg cells for subsequent reproduction already formed. Genetic damage caused during the fetus stage might not be seen until generation three (if we're around for it).
Hosea 2:2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; 2:3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.
Anonymous Coward
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05/16/2010 08:38 AM
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Why the hell isnt the MSM warning beach goers of this???

Children are vulnerable to toxic chemicals in crude oil that disrupt normal growth and development. Their brains are highly susceptible to many neurotoxic ingredients. Endocrine disruptors in crude oil can cause abnormal growth, infertility, and other health conditions. Children's exposures may be higher than adults and can include contaminated soil or sand. Newborns are especially vulnerable due to incompletely formed immune and detoxification systems.


The developing fetus is susceptible to the toxic effects of many chemicals in crude oil. Many cause mutations, endocrine disruption, skeletal deformities, and other types of birth defects.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 942322


WHERE'S THE PROFIT IN THAT?
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Anonymous Coward
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Gulf Oil Spill Threatens Public Health

By E. Galen

10 May, 2010
WSWS.org

The ongoing spill of millions of gallons of crude from the BP oil rig into the Gulf of Mexico is an enormous environmental disaster, threatening fish, birds, and shallow water species like oysters, shrimp and crayfish. Human beings are part of the environment, and the oil slick poses major risks to public health.

In the past few days, residents of southwestern Louisiana have complained about odors causing headaches and burning eyes and nausea. The state health department has ordered testing of water systems near the Gulf for oil contamination.

Major oil spills have caused billions of gallons of oil to pour into the environment in the last several decades. As the World Health Organization has pointed out, there are hardly any studies following the effects on the health of residents who live near those spills.

Oil is a mix of complex chemicals. It contains hydrocarbon compounds, some of them cancer-causing, others causing neurological and reproductive damage, as well as skin and lung problems. Sometimes crude oil has traces of mercury, lead and arsenic.

There are several ways an oil spill is harmful to human health. From evaporation or smoke as oil is burned, people can inhale volatile organic compounds and other hydrocarbons. Oil vapors can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, eye and throat irritation, and breathing difficulties. People who inhale large amounts of fumes are in danger of a chemical poisoning called hydrocarbon pneumonia.

“Smoke from burning oil contains many chemicals; some are potentially lethal poisons and some are nuisance irritants, but even these nuisance irritants can trigger breathing problems in people with asthma or emphysema or other lung disease,” stated Dr. Marcel Casavant, chief of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The smoke from burning oil contains carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organics, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), hydrogen sulfide acidic aerosols and soot, solid particles embedded in tar. Particulate matter is very harmful to the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can damage the heart and cause other serious health effects, including premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

Volatile organic compounds can lead to respiratory problems, allergic reactions and weakened immune systems. They are also associated with harmful effects on the gastrointestinal tract and liver.

According to Dr. Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, some of the volatile chemicals have been linked to miscarriage, premature births and low birth weight.

The oil spill can also damage human health indirectly, through absorption into the food chain. Oil floating on the water contaminates plankton, very small plants and animals. Small fish eat plankton, larger fish eat small fish, animals and humans eat large fish and other seafood: all ultimately ingest oil.

The Water Encyclopedia states, “Oil waste poisons the sensitive marine and coastal organic substrate, interrupting the food chain on which fish and sea creatures depend.... Wildlife other than fish and sea creatures, including mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds that live in or near the ocean, are also poisoned by oil waste.”

As people eat some of the components of the oil that is contaminating these food sources, the risk of getting cancer increases. “Contaminants in oil can persist for years and accumulate in the food chain, causing elevated cancer risks or neurological risks from exposure to heavy metals such as mercury,” writes Dr. Solomon.

Some scientists are downplaying the real threats to human health from the massive oil spill. “This is an ecological event, rather than a human health problem,” says LuAnn White, professor of environmental health and toxicology at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

But oil-producing communities have complained about the health impacts linked to environmental toxins used in production. For instance, residents in Conecuh County, Alabama, have experienced headaches, open sores, miscarriages and other health effects, believed related to air and water contamination. In March 2006, an oil and gas company operating in Conecuh County was fined for releasing various compounds without permits, including hydrogen sulfide, a potentially deadly gas often associated with oil production in south Alabama. Residents have also noticed thick, unidentified foamy substances in water connected to their water wells.

The Oil and Gas Accountability Project describes the experience of a Colorado landowner who said, “When a well was being drilled near my house, the fumes were so strong that I passed out.”

In 2006, a Colorado Air Quality Control Commission report stated that oil and gas developments are the primary sources of the Denver region’s air pollution. In the Rocky Mountain region, the emission of sulfur dioxide has increased by 147 percent as a byproduct of petroleum production. The chemical aggravates heart and lung diseases and is poisonous at high levels.

The Environmental Working Group and The Endocrine Disruption Exchange reported that 430 million gallons of chemical-laced fluids have been injected into oil and gas wells in Colorado, mainly to force out the petroleum. Halliburton Corp. has threatened to leave the state of Colorado if forced to disclose the chemicals it uses. The giant energy services company is responsible for cementing the deepwater drill hole in the current BP oil spill, which may have contributed to the failure of the well.

Oil and gas companies are not required by state or federal law to disclose what chemicals they employ during drilling. More than 2,500 chemicals are being used by the oil and gas industry today. Some of these oilfield chemicals are endocrine disruptors. They can trigger biological changes at very, very low concentrations, and have been implicated in health problems such as cancer and genetic mutations.

An online report by BBC News in August 2000 looked at the legacy of pollution in Kuwait from its oil spills and fires in 1991. Iraqi troops spilled oil into the Persian Gulf during the Gulf War. They then set fire to hundreds of wells. The oil spill, by some estimates the largest in history, involved tens to hundreds of million gallons.

In 2000, scientists said that parts of the desert were still heavily polluted with oil. Doctors reported a significant increase in patients with heart disease and cancers. Dr. Badria al-Awadi, a lawyer and the Kuwait representative for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, said health statistics since 1991 were alarming. “A lot of diseases which we never had before, now we are having,” she said. The incidence of cancer “is much higher that it was before.” There are also growing numbers of people with respiratory diseases and allergies.

As with all industrial pollution, the oil industry will deny responsibility for the toxicity of its products and the devastating impact these poisons have on the health and lives of millions of people. The full impact of the Gulf of Mexico spill may not be known for many years.
Anonymous Coward
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05/20/2010 07:49 PM
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Nyhee7
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06/10/2010 02:30 AM
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From a science blog. I don't know if I can post the site without getting banned. I suggest you copy some of the text, post it in google, then find the whole report.

....

" As for crude oils, a very decent analysis by the American Petroleum Institute shows that all are toxic, but their effects vary with thickness and with the different chemistry seen in say, oil from the Gulf of Mexico and oil from Kuwait. The best estimate I've seen for South Louisiana Crude - after hours of exasperated research - comes from thesis work done at Louisiana State University several years ago. For instance, the study found that Louisiana crude had an LC50 of 4250 ppm for the warm-water loving killifish.

This suggests that crude oil is less acutely poisonous than chemical dispersants. But here's the really interesting finding in that terrific little study. Adding a dispersant - specifically Corexit 9500 - made the oil more poisonous. A lot more poisonous.

The "dispersed" oil had an LC50 of 317.7 ppm, making it more than 11 times more lethal in its effects. The study found a similar worsening for white shrimp, although not quite as dramatic. "Dispersed oils were more toxic than crude oils," noted the report.

Oh, definitely. Still, you might argue that this is only a master's thesis conclusion. But as it turns out there are plenty of other studies raising very similar warnings and they go back quite a ways. A report in the journal Environmental Toxicology a decade ago concluded that "LC50 values indicate that dispersed oil combinations were significantly more toxic to these organisms than .. crude oil." Another study, this time of snails and amphipods reached exactly the same conclusion. ...."





GLP